Sunday, September 14, 2008

Power of the people...

Last week, I had a conversation with one of my good friends from Ohio. This friend has been competing in the American Coed pageant in Ohio for years- we first met each other 7 years ago when she came to cheer me on in the state pageant! She has overcome a lot of health challenges in her life and is working towards a degree in Ohio now.

This is her last year of eligibility for this particular pageant, and so she decided to attend the national pageant in Orlando, Florida. This is a very expensive venture if you were named a runner up as opposed to the state queen (which happened to this girl). I sent this young woman an email with some suggestions of dresses that I thought would really flatter her and encouraged her to invest in a nice one for the national pageant. I thought that a really beautiful dress would give her the self-confidence to propel her from runner up to winner.

When she got back to me, it was clear that the financial stress was getting to her. As much as we love pageants, they can really add up in the expense department! I offered that I would contact other American Coed girls to see if anyone was willing to help or maybe had a dress she could borrow.

The response that I got was really amazing- right away, ten people were offering me their items of clothing for the pageant. Two families offered to make a cash donation. And finally, the big one. An extremely generous girl from the pacific northwest worked with the national office about the situation, and the result is that this young Ohio woman now has $475 paid to her account! That doesn't even include the people who wanted to make cash donations! It was a really wonderful experience to see pageant girls and families pull together, and it really testifies to the statement "It never hurts to ask!"

Sometimes people don't have faith in pageants, and especially the other contestants. "Don't they rip your clothes?" and other questions are common coming from people with no pageant experience. If you have ever met one of the young women competing for Miss Virginia especially, you'll know this isn't true. For goodness sakes, my talent pants literally fell down during rehearsal and if it weren't for the generosity of Taylor Witte, another contestant, I wouldn't have had safety pins to hold them up! Sure, pageants are a competition, but I have never had as much fun as I did during the week in Roanoke. People offering to help one another no matter what the crisis!

This last week asking people to help a young woman who really deserves it was such a good experience. There are so many people out there willing to help us, and it was rewarding to experience that firsthand!

In other news, my teaching assistantship is keeping me extremely busy! I've been asked to write a blog for a scholarship website about my experince with Miss VA/Miss America pageants, so keep your eyes open! I'll link you to it when I'm done!

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